Spring Break With Santa

While all my college peers will be partying away their spring break somewhere warm, I will be doing the opposite. I am taking my entire week to participate in an arctic geophysics research operation near Barrow Alaska.

Barrow is the most northern US settlement in the world. It is on the northernmost peninsula of Alaska, adjacent to the Arctic Sea. The climate is entirely tundra, nothing but snow-covered-ice, glaciers, and ice covering the beaches.

So what will we be doing? Well its complicated, but I’ll be brief. We will be using electrical resistivity-mapping and ground penetrating radar to analyze old and new sea ice. The hope is to find a correlation between the age of the ice in question, and the fractal dimension on the under-layer (that is, the exact physical dimension in which the ice exists). What’s interesting is that virtually nothing we encounter is ever a whole-dimension (for example, you would not be 2 or 3, but 2.8).

The data we will be taking can and will be used in countless other applications, many of which may take years of analysis. While our hypothesis is considered a fairly “short” and “easy” to test after analyzing the data, we are still looking at months of calculations.

Oh, here’s an interesting fact for you economists out there: Most of the time Barrow’s population is only 10% Alaskan or American citizens. Who are all the other people? Native Americans. Interference by white Americans and Ruskies made it nearly impossible for the natives to live on their own a long time ago (over-hunting and all that stuff). While the levels of arctic fauna have returned enough to support the natives now, they essentially survived for years off of government money. Considering that the approximate population of Barrow is natives and scientists, about 99% of all exchange is funded by federal taxes. If that doesn’t sound like allot of money, consider that the non-natives can’t hunt, which means they cannot survive in Barrow without a daily supply of resources. That means that every day, a cargo plane flies resources in, and garbage out.

I will be returning Sunday the 16th, so my next blog will be that Monday or Tuesday. See you then!

Published in: on March 7, 2008 at 5:22 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Nice post! I just featured it on Connect Mason n(http://connect2mason.com/blogger_pc_santa). Let me know what you think … and have fun!

    Whitney Rhodes
    Connect Mason Director

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